“Every vote counts,” announce billboards around Juba, “if you have registered, make sure you go to vote”. There is no doubt in Southern Sudan that of those that vote, many more than the required 50% + 1 will opt for secession. There was some concern surrounding a clause in the peace agreement stipulating that over 60% of those registered must turn-out, but by mid-week, the ruling party had announced that the turn-out had already been reached.
For members of “My Referendum for Freedom”, an organisation originally started by a member of the south Sudan diaspora in Australia, getting people to vote meant much more than just a clause in an agreement: this was their chance to determine their future.
During the week of voting, these volunteers climbed into the back of pick-up trucks, armed with a microphone and loudspeakers, exclaiming to people that if they are registered, they should exercise their right to vote, and voice their opinion. They organised buses to transport people from remote communities to polling stations, believing that a truly democratic vote should not be influenced by people’s means to pay for long journeys.